Fiona's school musical opened this weekend. It's Little Shop of Horrors - a tale of greed, lust and inter-planetary botanical horror. In short, a perfect vehicle for budding teen-age talent. Fiona plays Audrey, the flower shop assistant who considers herself not worthy of a nice guy like Seymour, who works with her for shop owner Mr. Mushnik. On the day that Mushnik decides to pack it in and close his unsuccessful business, Seymour puts his newest strange plant, named "Audrey Two" in the window, and everything changes. The story is a Faust legend, set in 1950s skid row squalor. Seymour trades his morality for fame, fortune and love, with predictably disastrous consequences. Carrying the tale along is a trio of "Doo-wop" girls, an assortment of skid row residents, and Audrey's boyfriend, a sadistic dentist with an addiction to nitrous oxide.
The Heritage Woods Secondary performance is a big bowlful of black humour fun. Central to the story is a people-eating plant, played and given voice in its various shapes and sizes by student actors who operate an amazing set of plant puppets. There's a student orchestra and student stage crew and student theatre techs. Under the direction of their amazing acting and music teachers, Shanda Walters (director) and Ingrid Gay (musical director) they bring this story to life in all of its grimy and grizzly wonderful horribleness. I'm biased of course, being mom to one of the performers, and knowing a lot of the students who are in it, but I'm sure even if I knew nobody in it, I'd love this show. Ms Walters picked the right play for this year's musical theatre class, with bang-on casting for shy Seymour, the insane dentist and the enigmatic Mr. Mushnik (played with chutzpah by a girl, but you don't figure this our for the first few minutes she's so good). As for Audrey, I have to say that it made me feel uncomfortable to see my daughter dressed up in tall heels and a tight skirt, being pushed around by a cruel boyfriend, then eaten by a plant, but that's theatre, not real life, so I can handle it. The set is dark and weird, costuming is quirky and convincing, and the music is great. We're blessed at Heritage with some awesome musicians and singers, and Ms. Gay brings out the best of their talents.
Fiona sings two very tender songs, both of which made me cry, except that in the reprise of "Somewhere that's Green," I was also laughing my head off at the same time, because it's just so darn silly and improbable. My neighbours caught me laughing as my blood-stained daughter was being eaten by the plant. They reassured me that I am still a good mother, even so.
If you get a chance to go see this show, you will be not be disappointed. There are 3 more performances: March 17 at 4pm, and 18th, 19th and 20th at 7:30, all at Heritage Woods Secondary. Tix are available at the door, $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors. Not suitable for younger children, or people who have been traumatized by bad experiences with Venus Fly Traps.
question: does that guy look like plant food to you?
mompoet - laughing and crying (and proud)